Tuesday, 5 March 2013
So, through the media, four anonymous priests (one of them ex) have managed a thorough character assassination on the now retired Cardinal O'Brien. Last night's extended Newsnight Scotland - all 50 minutes of it - struggled to further deride the man who led the Catholic church in Scotland for many years.
Throughout my lifetime I've been suspicious of many religious organisations which are male dominated and Catholicism is one of them. That doesn't mean to say I refute Christianity and its values, but feel it unnatural for people of the same sex to spend the majority of their lives without the company of the opposite sex.
Surely there can't be many people who have not thought there is something 'unusual' about priests counselling families when they have no experience of family situations themselves.
I once worked with a fervent Catholic woman who insisted she must leave work early each Friday because 'the father' called at teatime. Sometimes she would entertain us with anecdotes of his visit and it was particularly amusing when her husband, who converted to Catholicism when he married Frances, would ask the father where he'd gained his experience of birth control. That subject featured highly in the weekly sessions for some reason. Perhaps it was because they were childless, I don't know.
I digress. Why have these four people waited 30 odd years before making there announcements? That's puzzling. Surely they have had ample opportunity to achieve their revenge before now.
Is the Catholic church tainted? No, this will be a 9-day wonder, but it doesn't help those of the Catholic faith in Scotland. O'Brien was a good leader by all accounts and he's acted responsibly by immediately resigning. Of course he may have been pushed but we shall never know. The Vatican is renowned for its ability to stifle controversy and in particular that of a sexual nature.
It was only the other week Cardinal O'Brien suggested priests should be allowed to marry. If only he'd made the suggestion 30 years ago he may not be in disgrace today.
There will be many in the service of the Catholic church who will be feeling uncomfortable with what has happened here in the past week. It's reported that the Pope resigned to purge the church of 'the filth'. Cardinal O'Brien is possibly the tip of an iceberg, yet he will continue to be publicly hung, drawn and quartered by the media.
As you will realise I have a little sympathy for the man because I understand he was well liked in his respective circle and was a 'people' person rather than a shadowy individual who only appeared as a figurehead. My Catholic friends who know him speak highly of him and think no less of him now than they did a week ago. "He's confessed, apologised and resigned," I was told. When I suggested he will be remembered as a hypocrite I was firmly rebuked. "Let's remember some things we did when young that we'd rather forget." Indeed.